Planet Lean: The Official online magazine of the Lean Global Network
Reflecting on a unique partnership

Reflecting on a unique partnership

Planet Lean
June 4, 2019

FEATURE – Following the recent CXO Summit in Singapore, a team from the Lean Global Network reflects on the partnership with SIT and its potential effects on the city-state.

Over the past three years, the Lean Global Network and the Singapore Institute of Technology’s Lean Transformation Innovation Centre (“the SIT Lean Centre”)have joined forces to bring lean capabilities to SMEs in Singapore. The primary purpose of the partnership was to create a sustainable path towards competitiveness for companies in the island nation, by developing local lean capabilities.

This has quickly turned out to be a multi-faceted, one-of-a-kind lean experiment that has produced learning at several levels. We believe our partnership represents a new model for academia around the world, one that combines classroom training with on-the-job learning (a staple of lean thinking). With this in mind, SIT faculty members joined LGN coaches as they supported the lean transformations of several Singaporean companies, so that they too could learn lean thinking at the gemba and later use what they learned to coach their students. At the Lean Global Network, we believe that the value of our work is determined by what happens when the project is completed – which is why both the SIT faculty members and LGN coaches have worked together to put in place a system to ensure that the companies continue their lean journey with the help of SIT Lean Centre.

On April 24, the SIT Lean Centre – the first product of the LGN-SIT partnership – held its fourth CXO Summit, which attracted over 400 participants. The theme for this year’s summit was “Transform Fire-Fighting into Lean Leadership”, with Mr. Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, SkillsFuture Singapore, as the Guest-of-Honour.

John Shook, Executive Chairman of the Lean Global Network, delivered his keynote speech on Organizational Stability, sharing ways to achieve stability and predictability at the workplace so that leaders can build effective strategic plans for their organizations. His presentation (which you can check out here) was followed by companies sharing their experience with lean transformation, applying the five core principles of lean, and striving for stability within their organizations. The companies presenting their stories included Four Seasons Group, Shalom Movers Pte Ltd, and Particle Measuring Systems Inc. SIT Faculty Assistant Professor Jawn Lim and Assistant Professor Lim Chun Yee shared their insights and main takeaways from the companies they were attached to on the Lean Skills Development Programme.

As ever, summits are a fantastic way to reflect on what we have learned. So, below, some of our Lean Global Network colleagues share their thoughts on the CXO Summit and the partnership with SIT.

Jikku Mohan, Product Strategy Manager, Lean Enterprise Institute

Jikku Mohan photograph

Our partnership with SIT was established three years ago with the twin objectives to improve the competitiveness of Singapore companies on the global stage and to develop local capability to spread lean thinking and practice.

Our journey with SIT has involved working with 25 companies across multiple industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, and food and beverage. It was a pleasure to hear the stories of lean transformation from these companies at the CXO Summit. The stories were inspiring and highlighted how organizations overcame challenges and grew in their problem-solving capability. SIT professors have done great job understanding and incorporating lean principles into their curriculum ensuring that future generations will have greater awareness and understanding of lean thinking.

We look forward to serving Singapore and further strengthen our partnership with SIT in the upcoming years to establish SIT as a hub for lean thinking and practice in South East Asia.

Matt Savas, Director, Lean Global Network

Matt Savas photograph

The Lean Global Network is a tremendously diverse consortium of 31 organizations that share a common purpose: make the world a better place through lean thinking and practice. The network – operating together – is much stronger than the sum of its parts.

There is no better evidence of this than our relationship with the Singapore Institute of Technology. SIT has made the most of LGN’s diversity and ability to influence a variety of industries. There is no doubt our work together will greatly benefit the entire country of Singapore.

It was a privilege to observe the work of LGN coaches and SIT faculty in organizations ranging from catering to healthcare. Even more encouraging was listening to students – mentored by SIT professors – who have braved challenging organizational environments to make positive change on workers and their work. SIT has clearly transformed the thinking of their students and enabled them to turn that thinking into effective action.

The long-term consequences of a steady stream of lean thinkers leaving SIT to join the Singaporean workforce is exciting. It is an honor for LGN to be a part of it.

René Aernoudts, President, Lean Management Instituut, The Netherlands

René Aernoudts photograph

The CXO summit was another excellent example of what the collaboration between SIT and LGN has brought. The inspiring stories told by the organizations who attended the Lean Skills Development Programme showed how fruitful their work with the SIT Faculty was. It was very gratifying to see so many amazing results in terms of Purpose,

Process and People. It was great to run the Lean Learning Game Show both at the summit and in a one-day masterclass. This has proven to be a very interactive, fun and engaging way to learn about lean for all the participants. We at the Lean Global Network are very honored and proud to be a part of the lean journeys of these great Singaporean organizations.

Denise Bennett, Coach for Transformation and Improvement, Lean Enterprise Australia

Denise Bennett photo

Over the last 18 months, I have been working with SIT as one of the LGN lean coaches. it was a privilege to attend the CXO summit this year for the second year in a row. I was able to join John Shook for a session with Nursing, Hospitality and Food Services students from SIT, where they presented posters sharing their improvement experiences within industry. The quality of their work, application of the concepts, and depth of learning was heart-warming. The SIT faculty involved are doing an amazing job of integrating lean thinking and practice into undergraduate training. This is trail-blazing work. The Lean Global Network and broader lean community can learn a lot from it.

John Shook, Executive Chairman, Lean Global Network

The annual CXO Lean Summit – organized by our friends at the Singapore Institute of Technology – is always a great way to check in on the state of the adoption of lean thinking in Singapore.

SIT itself continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace as faculty, staff, and students learn about and promote continuous improvement and innovation. University President Tan Thiam Soon shared with members of the LGN team his ambitious plans for SIT’s new campus. SIT is a very young (10 years old) educational institution and is expanding rapidly. Its youth and status as a newcomer present both challenges and opportunities.

As an institution of higher education dedicated to facilitating life-long adult learning, SIT is taking advantage of the relative lack of entrenched interests and legacy programs as well as the normal inevitable impediments to change. An example of the kind of experiment that may be possible: SIT’s new campus (to open in early 2023) will be the first university in Southeast Asia to have a multi-energy micro-grid network. As a distributed energy system, the micro-grid can operate independently from the national grid in times of emergency. What kind of energy experiments might that enable? I recommend you stay tuned (I will).

Arthur Poh, Director of the Technology, Innovation & Enterprise Division, Singapore Institute of Technology

Arthur Poh photograph

We are heartened to have partnered with the Lean Global Network in 2016. Since then, SIT Lean Centre has achieved good progress in transforming the Singapore workforce and our enterprises, especially in the healthcare, engineering and service innovation spaces. Within the SIT Lean Centre, we work closely with companies to scope out the project statement. We give special attention to the organizational needs, goals and what the company aspires to achieve as a result of this lean journey. With the LGN, SIT is able to tap into selected global expertise to share best practices and solutions within our local companies. These can then adapt and deploy the solutions to meet their needs. This model has thus far been successfu and sustainable and we will continue to work with the Lean Global Network to achieve lean excellence in Singapore.

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